April 17, 2019 --
Adleigh Scheck, Dylan Kennedy and Carmen Aubichon were rewarded for their dedication to reading during the District Battle of the Books.
The three Beaverly Elementary School students formed the winning team at Tuesday's Battle of the Books, which challenged participants to correctly answer questions about the 10 fiction books that have been nominated for 2018-19 Red Cedar Awards. After three rounds and a total of 60 questions, Scheck, Kennedy and Aubichon – who were teamed up as Beaverly 1 – were declared the winners. On the way to the Battle of the Books triumph, they topped 34 other teams at Blackburn Elementary School.
"I feel really good," the Grade 7 Scheck said about being part of the winning team at the District Battle of the Books. "I thought we could do pretty well but I wasn't expecting first place."
The fiction books up for 2018-19 Red Cedar awards are: From Ant to Eagle, by Alex Lyttle; Heartwod Hotel: A True Home, by Kallie George; The Lotterys Plus One, by Emma Donoghue; Inside Hudson Pickle, by Yolanda Ridge; Dominion, by Shane Arbuthnott; Clara Humble: Quiz Whiz, by Anna Humphrey; Mine, by Natalie Hyde; The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library, by Linda Bailey; The Painting, by Charis Cotter; and Innocent Heroes, by Sigmund Brouwer. The authors are all Canadian, and the whole purpose behind the Battle of the Books is to engage students in reading.
School competitions were held to qualify teams for the District Battle of the Books. After two rounds on Tuesday (20 questions in each round), seven teams advanced to the final. Normally, six teams make it to the final but, this time, two teams were tied after 40 questions.
After 20 more questions, Beaverly 1 was declared the winner.
Throughout the competition, the questions were far from easy. Teams were asked about plot points, tasked with identifying direct passages and queried on their knowledge of the authors or illustrators. Once teams had decided on their answer, they held up a card with the corresponding book title on it.
"There were some (questions) where there was a possibility of three different books and you had to pick one – think deep into the book about what you read," said Kennedy, who is also a Grade 7 student. "There were quite a few that stumped us.
"Most people didn't get the author notes, so the author notes really gave us an advantage."
Aubichon, who is in Grade 6, said working together was a key to Beaverly 1's overall success.
"We all read some books," she said, and noted that each team member also focused more intently, or specialized, on particular ones. "We just trusted each other that we would choose the right ones."
As a participant in the Red Cedar program at Beaverly, Aubichon read all 10 books. That was true for many students who tested their knowledge in the District Battle of the Books.
Teacher librarian Sarah Goudal and Grade 6-7 teacher Shawn Ponto are the Red Cedar leaders at Beaverly. Their students started reading the books last fall, in October. Study sessions were held every Friday.
"We have 10 students in our club and every single one came, almost all the time," Goudal said.
Ponto said he is "super impressed" with the efforts of the Beaverly students.
"To see the number of kids in general that are here from the district – that have read a lot of the books – is quite impressive," he added.
For their first-place finish, the Beaverly 1 team members were awarded $25 gift cards from Books & Company. The teams that took second and third, respectively, were Heather Park 2 and Lac des Bois 1. The other finalists were Heather Park 1, Blackburn 1, Peden Hill 1 and Southridge 2. Books & Company also provided gift cards of various denominations for all these teams.
Ridge, author of Inside Hudson Pickle, was a special guest at the District Battle of the Books. The event dates back to the late 1990s and was developed by teacher librarians in School District No. 57.
The students and teachers who traveled the greatest distance to attend the 2019 District Battle of the Books were the ones from Morfee Elementary School in Mackenzie.
Next year's District Battle of the Books will also be hosted by Blackburn Elementary.